Review: Kona Bistro, Restaurant Week

In case you didn’t know, this week is the Greater Cincinnati Independents‘ restaurant week. A selection of restaurants price a 3-course meal at 25.08. The restaurants range from a couple of Jean-Robert properties, to Hugo, to the Boathouse– the list goes on.

On Monday, we decided to try Kona Bistro. Terry and I had both been there before– he once, I had been twice– and settled in for some great food at a great price.


It was not to be.

I know that Anthony Bourdain insists that you not go to restaurants on Monday night. I should have cooked, or something, and tried Kona on Tuesday.. or even tonight. Anthony, I will never ignore your words again.

Unlike a lot of the restaurants, the only choice in courses was in the entree. The first course was a spring mix salad with butternut squash, candied walnuts, red onions and warm herbed goat cheese. The warm herbed goat cheese was great, as were the walnuts and the vinaigrette, but the squash was boiled, cold and unseasoned and added nothing to the dish but an unpleasant clamminess– not in flavor, of course, but texture. Disappointing.

I was going to order the espresso crusted pork loin, but they were out of it– I guess they didn’t plan for a lot of people on Monday night (there were maybe 4 tables occupied at 8:30). I ended up with the sun-dried tomato polenta with ratatouille and garlicky spinach.

The polenta was nice, but the ratatouille was undercooked, which made for an unpleasant texture. The garlicky spinach was just that– really, really overpoweringly garlicky. The dish ended up being simply average.

Terry selected the salmon, which has a much better crust than that of the tilapia from Blackfinn’s. The salmon itself, though, was a touch overdone and a touch overfrozen. The mashed potatoes were adequate, but I guess I’d spoiled him the night before with my mashed potatoes. Oops. Again, a very average dish.

Dessert was a fudge brownie with espresso-scented whipped cream. The brownies were again, average– they needed some frosting or something. The whipped cream was the best part– just a hint of espresso.

I know that Kona can do better– I’ve had better food there somewhat recently. If they skimped because it was a discounted meal, then this is a bad sign– Restaurant Week is supposed to draw in customers who might not normally go to these restaurants, and if I were one of these customers, I’d be disappointed. I’m going to try them out again sometime in the next couple of weeks to see if this was an isolated incident.

Hopefully, other restaurant week specials will be better! Which restaurants have you visited?

Kona Bistro on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Review: Kona Bistro, Restaurant Week”

  • We are trying Chalk for Resto Week. I am really excited because their menu looks spectacular. have you been?

  • If the end of the world doesn’t happen tomorrow, we’re hitting Chalk.

    Through next weekend is going to be crazy but if you do go to Kona again, or Twist or Lavo for that matter give us a shout.

  • I may hit Chalk myself tomorrow night– haven’t decided; am trying to figure out if I want to do Bockfest.

    I’ll give you a shout if I decide either way– or next weekend.

  • I have tried Kona numerous times and am always left feeling underwhelmed. The entrees always sound good but then are bland and/or cold, etc etc… I’ve given up on Kona. Theyh do have some good grilled sandwiches though.

  • We tried Mesh for the first time, and the food and service were great. We had to go early for resto week reservation, and the place was very busy, for a Monday night — yet we saw no one else ordering off the resto menu. It was a great intro, given that everyone else in the place was spending more just for their entrees than we spent on the whole meal. … we went to Lavo for a glass of wine and a snack after a concert at Music Hall last week. It’s a charming neighborhood wine bar, and I hope it does well. We tried the cheese plate (5 little wedges of different cheeses, toasted bread, and quince paste) and snails with Mediterranean grilled vegs — both excellent, and so much fun to try something out of the ordinary.

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